VOY Challenge, Ep. 7: Eye of the Needle

VOY_S01_E07TrekGeeks’ Star Trek Voyager Challenge

One Geek’s mission to get through the Delta Quadrant using a tiny, tiny wormhole…


The opening Captain’s Log clues in to the fact that Ensign Kim has found what could be a wormhole that could possibly shorten Voyager’s journey home. It’s not exactly on their way home, so to investigate requires a significant detour.  Janeway orders the course change and Paris recommends that once their home they should petition the Federation Astronomical Committee to name the phenomenon, “The Harry Kim Wormhole.”

If it works.

After the opening credits, Voyager arrives at the coordinates where the wormhole should be located. It’s at that point we learn the bad news: the entrance to The Harry Kim Wormhole is only 30 centimeters in diameter–nowhere near large enough for the ship to travel through.  Janeway believes that the wormhole could be in an advanced state of decay. She decides to send a microprobe into the wormhole to investigate it, but it becomes stuck in an eddy inside. It’s not all bad news, though–it’s not long before the crew of the Starship Voyager realize that someone on the other side has noticed the microprobe.

Meanwhile, in Sick Bay, the Doctor is examining Lt. Baxter–who injured himself working out and only seems to want to talk to Kes. Baxter even questions the Doctor’s abilities openly. Once Baxter is treated and discharged from Sick Bay, Kes asks the Doctor if he was aware how rude the Lieutenant was to him. The Doctor replies that he’s used to it. Kes decides to ask the Doctor for more of a challenge–she doesn’t just want to learn first aid, she wants to learn anatomy and physiology. The Doctor obliges and Kes thanks him for his help and assistance…something he doesn’t appear to be used to.

Cut to the Observation Lounge: The Senior Staff has gathered to talk about the wormhole. Torres says that the microprobe will be crushed by the wormhole in 72 hours.  Janeway theorizes that it could be used as a relay to contact whomever is monitoring the probe from the other side.  Kim says they can use the probe as  a subspace relay to get a message across. This excites Ensign Kim a great deal.

Kim and Torres go to Engineering to work on configuring the relay, and they talk about who they might talk to back home. Kim hopes to talk to his family and Torres says the Maquis are the closest thing to family she’s got. Once the relay is configured, they send a series of signals across the wormhole. After several minutes, they receive a signal from the other side of the wormhole–AND it’s coming from the Alpha Quadrant!

Back at the B-Story, Kes visits the Captain to inform her she’s not happy with the way the crew treats the Doctor. Janeway tells Kes that she’s gotten all kinds of negative reports about the Doctor to the point where she’s considering having him reprogrammed. Kes doesn’t like the sound of that at all–she tells the Captain that the Doctor is alive…he’s got self-awareness, he learns, and he communicates.  Janeway ponders Kes’ points.

Harry Kim is encouraged by the test signals that the Voyager has sent and considers voice communication with the other side of the wormhole.  Janeway hails the other side and, after some manipulation for phase variance, they receive a reply from a Romulan cargo ship in sector 1835 of the Alpha Quadrant. She tells the Romulan ship that they are in the Delta Quadrant and, of course, the Romulans think Janeway is lying and insist she’s a spy.  Silly, silly Romulans.

The Romulan terminates communication. Tuvok mentions that there are no shipping lanes in that sector of the Alpha Quadrant and that the ship is most likely a Romulan science vessel on some kind of secret mission. Janeway orders continual hails of the Romulan ship. (Doesn’t she know it’s not good to keep calling a guy right away after the first date?)

Janeway decides to go to Sick Bay and talk to the Doctor but she doesn’t find his program on. She activates the EMH and he explains that he was deactivated by a crewman while in the middle of prepping a culture. Janeway tells the Doctor that he’s become a full member of the crew and asks what she can do to help. She suggests giving him control over his own deactivation and he’s surprised by the idea. She asks if there’s anything else that she can do and he says he’ll get back to her.

Kim finally re-establishes contact with the Romulans in the middle of the night and wakes Janeway. The Romulan is still suspicious and doesn’t give his name. He admits that he has confirmed that they’re in the Delta Quadrant but doesn’t see how that is possible. He still believes that Janeway and the Voyager crew are spies, but she assures them that they’re not. She explains that all she wants is for the Romulans to pass along messages from the Voyager crew to their families. He’s still not so sure–he’s like to establish a video link and believes he can amplify the signal on his end. Kim and Paris work with the signal until the Romulan appears on the Voyager’s viewscreen.

The Romulan comments that he’s never seen a ship like the Voyager before and Janeway mentions that it is new but not classified. He’s been on his mission for over a year and isn’t caught up to the intelligence. He explains to Janeway that his Government is considering relaying the Voyager’s messages home. Janeway’s concerned that the wormhole will collapse, but the Romulan is just a cog in a machine. She hopes that he will urge his Government to relay the messages. Janeway tells Chakotay to have the crew prepare their messages just in case the Romulan Government agrees.

Torres asks to speak to the Captain in private. She tells Janeway that the frequency of the communications link with the Romulan is within a few megahertz of the transporters. It could be possible to use the microprobe as a relay not just for communication, but to transport the entire Voyager crew to the Alpha Quadrant.

Kes is apparently a quick study, because her work on human anatomy and physiology is complete. The Doctor is as stunned as we are and quizzes her on some details. Kes gets the answers correct and tells the Doctor she’d like to go to medical school if the ship makes it home. The Doctor says that, if she keeps this pace up, she could be considered a doctor herself by the time they get back. (I’m guessing he didn’t have the heart to tell her that medical school is six years of her nine year lifespan.)  The Doctor clearly hasn’t heard the new plan, though, and he’d clearly be unable to join the crew in transporting to the Alpha Quadrant. Kes kisses the Doctor on the cheek and thanks him and he asks her to ensure that he’s turned off before they all leave.

Janeway tells the Romulan about the transporter theory and this impresses the Romulan–especially their advanced technology. They conduct a test, transporting a test cylinder to the other side of the wormhole successfully after accounting for more phase variance. Janeway then wants to send a Voyager crew member over to the Romulan side and he says that his Government would never allow it. He offers to transport himself over to the Voyager instead, promising to arrange for a Romulan troop ship to take Voyager’s crew if successful.

The transporter is energized and, although it’s not an easy beam-in, the Romulan materializes in the Voyager transporter room.

Janeway starts to think of having the crew prepare to abandon the ship and transport, but Tuvok steps up and asks the Romulan what year it is. The year?  The Romulan says that, by the Federation’s calendar, the year is 2151. Jaws drop in the room–the phase variance they have been accounting for is not only a variance in the wormhole but also a temporal one.  They’ve transported the Romulan 20 years into the future across the wormhole.  Of course, you know what this means–it’s time to go to the Observation Lounge and have a meeting.

The options are clear: transport 20 years into the past or have the Romulan deliver the messages from the Voyager crew in 20 years’ time. The Romulan agrees to deliver the messages at the appropriate time and says that he would welcome a visit from them when they arrive back home in the Alpha Quadrant. He finally gives them his name–he is Telek R’Mor of the Romulan Astrophysical Academy.

They give him the chip with the messages on it and R’Mor beams back to his time in the Alpha Quadrant. There is general relief aboard the Voyager that someone will hear their messages and then Tuvok drops the other shoe…

Telek R’Mor died four years before the Starship Voyager was transported to the Delta Quadrant.

Janeway looks heartbroken. Torres theorizes that maybe R’Mor gave the messages to someone else to forward along. Ultimately, there’s no way to know. All they can do now is get back on course for home.

Back in Sick Bay, Lt. Baxter is back to receive more treatment for another injury. Looks like he’s pulled a hamstring. Baxter begins talking only to Kes again and the Doctor tells him that if he has anything to say, he can say it to him. The Doctor also tells Baxter that if he has another workout injury, he’ll notify Baxter’s superior officer. Baxter replies with a “yes, sir” and leaves Sick Bay.  The Doctor also gives Kes a list of things he’d like from the Captain including probably the most prominent: a name.


  • The A-Story. Although it’s obvious that there’s no way Voyager is going to find its way home in the seventh episode, this story is told well–along with the appropriate twist at the end.
  • The B-Story. What could have been forgetful filler in the episode lays the building blocks for the growth of the Doctor as a character.
  • Vaughn Armstrong as the Romulan, Telek R’Mor. Armstrong is fantastic whenever he appears in Trek and this episode is no exception.
  • Harry Kim’s unbridled enthusiasm. Totally appropriate for his age and experience in Starfleet and it provides a good build up to the let down later on. Garrett Wang does a great job in this episode.
  • Janeway’s disappointment at the end of the episode. She, too, had her hopes up and the twist hits her like a ton of bricks. She’s downright crestfallen and Kate Mulgrew plays the scene exceptionally.
  • The Twist, obviously. You just know another shoe has to drop…and it does.


  • Voyager’s power reserves are down, yet they can beam everyone across to the Alpha Quadrant?
  • Although it was a conscious decision to exclude them, I’d have liked to have seen the crew recording some messages to their loved ones–perhaps maybe even Janeway, if for no other reason than to add layers to her character.
  • I still don’t like that Romulans have protruding foreheads in the TNG era and the Vulcans don’t. That just doesn’t make sense to me.


The Voyager didn’t fire any torpedoes this episode, so the count still stands at 37.


“Eye of the Needle” is a great episode of Voyager and good Star Trek, to boot. If I were putting together a list of episodes for the purpose of exposing this series to people who had never seen it, this one would be on it.  It gets a solid four Deltas out of five.




Tom Paris is convicted of murder and is sentenced to relive his crime over and over and over and over and over and over…well, you get the idea. Ex Post Facto is episode 8.